Feature, Freight News, Road, Sea

Drop-trailers only as Tilbury2 opens for business

[ May 27, 2020   //   ]

Forth Ports has opened its new Tilbury2 ro ro terminal, but it will only handle unaccompanied traffic for the time being, due to the corona crisis.

The 500,000-trailer capacity facility will, when fully operational later this year be the UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ro ro port. It will operate in exclusive partnership with P&O Ferries, whose chartered Norstream was the first vessel to call, on the Tilbury-Zeebrugge service.

Marine works for the new terminal, on the former Tilbury Power Station site on the north bank of the River Thames, were completed in April and successful ship trials were carried out on 17 May. It is part of a £250 million investment by Forth Ports and is Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited and embraces the latest booking and border technology, such as number plate recognition.

It will also include the the country’s biggest construction processing hub and a significantly larger rail head capable of handling trains of 775 metres.

Tilbury’s asset and site director said that the switch to a river berth would allow for larger vessels and faster vessel turnarounds while containers and trailers would be able to get onto an inland barge or the motorway network in under an hour.

Forth Ports chief executive  Charles Hammond, said: “This is an important time for the UK as we emerge from the lockdown. Our new freight terminal is the country’s most modern ferry port offering a seamless and lower carbon route to the biggest consumer market in Europe, Greater London. Despite the current challenges we have delivered a resilient terminal with significant headroom to grow as we pursue our vision of being the nation’s strategic freight gateway to-and-from Europe. We believe that this terminal opening is a symbol of hope for economic recovery.”

Maritime Minister, Kelly Tolhurst added: “Barely a year since getting the green light from my Department, the opening of the Tilbury2 unaccompanied ferry terminal really is a landmark moment for this major infrastructure project. It is a great testimony to all those who worked on the build that it has been finished and opened, despite the current challenges facing the maritime sector. The new terminal will provide more capacity and jobs at a vital time, when our world-leading ports will be at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery.”